President Donald Trump confiscated his translator’s notes about at least one of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and order the linguist not to discuss the conversations with other top U.S. officials, a new report has claimed.
Citing unnamed current and former U.S. officials, the Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump had taken extraordinary measures to conceal the contents of his meetings with Putin.
Trump has met Putin in person five times since assuming office, and the report claims that there is no detailed record of those meetings, even in classified files.
A White House spokesman disputed the Post’s account and said that the Trump administration has sought to ‘improve the relationship with Russia’ after the Obama administration ‘pursued a flawed ‘reset’ policy that sought engagement for the sake of engagement.’
US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018
Trump and Putin first met in person on July 7, 2017 on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg.
The leaders spoke for about three hours, and then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a U.S. interpreter were present for the meeting.
It was after this meeting that the Post claims that Trump confiscated the notes from his own interpreter, and ordered the linguist not to discuss the meeting with others in his administration.
It is unclear whether Trump had taken similar steps after other meetings with Putin, including his summit with the Russian leader in Helsinki in July 2018.
However, several officials did tell the Post that they were unable to get a ‘reliable readout’ from the Helsinki meeting, which unlike the Hamburg summit
It follows a report on Friday that the FBI had opened an investigation into Trump in May of 2017 out of concern that he might be a secret Russian agent.
Developing story, check back for updates.